Introduction: methodological reflections
This volume contains the reflections of researchers who explored the nature and impact of violence in different contexts, under the umbrella of the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council’s Violence Research Programme (VRP). One of the few research programmes in the world devoted solely to the study of violence, the ESRC’s VRP was funded for five years and supported 20 very different studies across the UK.1 The research topics varied widely. Academics and professional researchers examined arenas such as conflict in prison, girls’ experiences of violence, domestic violence during pregnancy, racist offending, homicide in Britain, and the prevalence of violent discipline of children in the home. The ESRC VRP embraced an interdisciplinary approach. Many social science disciplines - sociology, social policy, social psychology, geography, history, applied social studies and more - came together to examine the contemporary features of violence in the UK at the end of the twentieth century. The lessons learned are important for social science work throughout the twenty-first century. The dilemmas, difficulties and successes that researchers experienced while working with this research programme are worth sharing, across the individual projects and with many disciplines.